Easter in a French Castle

Dates: 24-28 March 2016

Magnums of Provence rosé consumed: 9

Champagne walks taken: 3

Meals enjoyed: 11, including 10 in the ornate salon des miroirs, and one particularly picturesque lunch al fresco

Turrets explored: 14

Easter eggs hunted: 124

Average temperature: 15C, perfect for Champagne walks and horse riding.

Falls taken into the pond: 1 (aerial video coming soon)

Most played song: Work by Rihanna (lyrics unknown but still sung along to: countless)

 

T H U R S D A Y

After our driver picked us up at Poitiers airport, we were delighted to pull up twenty minutes later to the stunningly beautiful castle we would call home for the long weekend.

We took the time to explore the incredible details like the gorgeous vaulted ceilings, turrets until we were distracted by welcome Lillet Blanc cocktails in front of a roaring fireplace (kept roaring all weekend thanks to our diligent team of fire-stokers). After introductions,  we ran through the history of the castle: one wing was from the 13th century, another from the 16th, and the remainder rebuilt after the French Revolution, when it was burned by the uprising lower classes. The rules: no smoking in doors, lest we burn the place down and require another rebuild. Welcome packages including G&T snacks, a personalised Laduree macaroon and Phizz awaited us in our jaw-dropping rooms.

Once we were settled in our new surroundings, we made our way down the picturesque stairs to the feast in the stunning dining room, the salon des miroirs. Many bottles of local wines were consumed as we got to know our new friends sitting next to us, and we finished the night off dancing and singing (badly) along to the music of DJ Cal Pal. 

F R I D A Y

After breakfast (with baguette, croissants and pain au chocolat delivered fresh from the boulangerie every morning, naturellement), we were driven further out into the countryside for horse riding. We got to know the gentle animals and after some horsing around headed out to a drizzly, but picturesque trail to show off our equestrian skills.

Shaking off the rain, we arrived back at the château for a long table lunch of croque monsieurs and salad. Cracking open a couple of Champagne bottles, those who didn’t nap (myself excluded) explored the 50 acres of the château ’s grounds. Sabreing lessons have come to be a G&T staple, and this weekend was no different. I was woken from my nap as the champagne walk had ended, and a spirited competition commenced of who could pop the top of a Champagne bottle using a knife (one reveller impressively got it on his first try – ever).

After exploring the castle some more, pre-dinner cocktails were poured by our bartender, and we settled into dinner, cooked by our French chef, Thomas. As our dessert plates were cleared, the bass started pumping and we spun around on a dance floor where royalty had once waltzed.

S A T U R D A Y

The secret to delicious French cooking? ADD MORE BUTTER. At least, that’s what we took away from our private cooking lesson in the kitchen, where we made Beef Bourguignon and Tartiflette.  

Sunshine and 19C warmth beckoned us to a dreamy outside lunch, where the rosé flowed and soon we were dancing on top of the tables.   

We scrubbed up, threw on our cocktail attire and headed to the parlour for Negronis and Martinis, but not before a quick snap in the library first.

White tablecloths and French opera met us in the dining room, where we indulged in a meal of chicken & mushroom vol au vent, beef bourgignon and crème brulee. Fresh from his train ride from Paris, DJ D!strict kept us cutting shapes until the very wee hours.

S U N D A Y

HAPPY EASTER!! The Easter Bunny had left a large Lindt egg outside of each of our bedroom doors, and a grown up (the winning prize: a bottle of Veuve) had us racing through the castle’s hidden nooks and through the spring blossoms outside.

A post-lunch croquet game began, and before long our French DJ was getting us dancing outside under the sun.

Our French-themed costumes got us into the mood for Champagne tasting with Moore Champagne in the music rooms. Will and Lydia Moore had us smelling and tasting five of their heavenly Champagnes from the region, learning about different grape varieties and wineries. We left slightly giggly and with orders placed for cases we can break out to impress our dinner party guests with. 

Lavender cocktails awaited us in the next room, served by a French waiter who seemed very perplexed by our costume choices. After our last supper, we celebrated an incredible weekend with a final game – orchestrated by a Louis XVI lookalike - of flip cup in the kitchen. Fireside chatting kept this Marie Antoinette impersonator up late enough to bid farewell to our guests with early airport transfers.

M O N D A Y

Our chef helped our hangovers by cooking an enormous final brunch, and laughter rang out in the dining room as antics of the weekend were shared. After one last walk of the property, we gathered our bags to meet our driver to the airport. Phone numbers swapped, plans made for the following weekend, we bid adieu to our new friends and our short departure from reality.

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